The Foundry ships Modo 801
The Foundry has released Modo 801, the second successive “monster upgrade” to the 3D package, adding node-based shading, improved animation and dynamics tools, and new features across the board.
The release was announced in a live stream yesterday at 7pm PDT, but if, like us, that fell during the middle of the night in your time zone, Gavin Scott heroically live blogged the entire thing on the Luxology forum.
Node-based shading, 2D-friendly character animation
For us, the highlights of the release would be the new node-based shading system – it looks fairly standard, if you’re familiar with those in other 3D apps, but it’s a popular request – and the new animation features.
Those include a set of tools that will be familiar to anyone from a 2D background, including onion skinning, in-between tools, and what looks to be a rather nicely thought-out spacing chart system.
The latter enables artists to create animations by setting up extremes, passing positions and in-betweens, then adjusting weighting and timing, roughly as you would do in traditional animation.
There is also a new retargeting system that supports mocap data in FBX or BVH format; and the rigging toolset has been extended with updates to the UI of the Schematic view, and new Wrap, Lattice and Bezier deformers.
Interoperability with other Foundry products
Modo 801 also adds a number of features designed to improve interoperability with other CG software, primarily those in The Foundry’s new Collectives product bundles.
That includes support for textures in UDIM format, for exchanging assets with Mari; although, according to Gavin Scott’s live blog, there’s no support for Ptex yet.
Interoperability with Nuke has been enhanced with new render outputs geared towards relighting, and support for OpenColorIO. According to the live blog, there’s no support for OpenEXR 2.0 and deep compositing yet.
Being tailored to Nuke, the new workflow will probably suit VFX artists more than motion graphics artists, leading to renewed calls on The Foundry’s forum for improved interoperability with After Effects.
A lot of other improvements
But individual requests aside, most Modo users should find something to suit them in 801.
The modelling, texturing and dynamics toolsets have all been updated – the new Shatter command for pre-fracturing a model before running a rigid body sim caught our eye – and there are a lot of smaller tweaks.
There are also new features geared towards collaborative workflow, including improved referencing; while the GL Measures feature displays custom information in the 3D viewport, making shared scenes more ‘readable’.
The official news release below gives a good summary of the remaining updates, and the Modo 801 summary page on The Foundry’s website includes a comprehensive set of demo videos.
PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Leading software developer The Foundry has announced the release of a brand new version of its popular 3D content creation application, MODO.
In MODO 801, nearly every element of the end-to-end 3D workflow has been improved upon and tweaked in response to extensive customer feedback from a wide range of industries.
This version provides even more out-of-the-box functionality with the introduction of large new features like Nodal Shading for complex shader building, and a completely rewritten Referencing workflow for large scene management. There are also huge updates to core content creation workflows like animation and particles.
Olivier Drion, Freelance artist and 3D trainer comments:
“MODO 801 is an amazing upgrade to the MODO ecosystem. I am already using it in production and the new workflows and features have really helped me to improve the quality and turnaround time of my work. I am a big fan of the lattice deformer, vector maps for fur, and all the new fur enhancements in 801”.
Features in detail:
The character animation improvements in MODO 801 not only provide greater control when loading and editing an animation but also provide a framework for users to animate believable characters – a framework that has existed in 2D animation for many years.
Updates in 801 to MODO’s dynamics and particles system make even the most ambitious ideas possible. Effects artists can now simulate flexible ropes and chains, shatter objects to create realistic destruction animations or use the new Glue system to simulate layers with breakable constraints.
Other exciting additions include enhanced snapping that adds precision and intelligence to the modeling process and allows users to create complex sets of snapping conditions, Nodal Shading to let artists create more complex shaders and materials, Rigging and deformers have been updated to add the new Wrap, Lattice and Bezier Deformers. Referencing in MODO 801 ushers in efficient collaborative workflows and practical, effective asset reuse.
New COLLECTIVES workflows have been introduced bringing more advanced relighting capabilities in NUKE with the addition of Diffuse Coefficient Outputs. MODO 801 also includes a fully integrated color management pipeline, built on the industry standard OpenColorIO library, ensuring colour consistency across all applications in the COLLECTIVES. As part of this work, the data exchange between MODO and MARI now features UDIM import as well as other improvements for working more efficiently with UDIM tiles.
Hair and fur has been dramatically improved in the release. New hair guides can be generated from the base geometry or interpolated from existing guides. Artists can even sketch guides directly on the screen guide and relatively constrain them to the base surface. With these updates, managing complex hairstyles is now a much easier process.
Painting and sculpting enhancements let you paint curved lines across a surface with greater control. The new Auto Scale and 2D/3D curve options for brushes also adds to the powerful painting and sculpting workflows. These painted curves could be used as part of the design’s look, guides for modeling or elements of a sculpt.
Texture baking tools have been upgraded to provide exactly what games artists need. UV Unwrapping can now be handled with better results in less time when editing complex UV layouts. Performance of the UV selection, camera navigation and paint selection processes have all been significantly improved along with new UV unwrap and relax tools that support an Angle Based flattening method. The GL Measures in 801 give artists the ability to expose relevant information in the viewport display, making scenes more readable in a collaborative environment.
Artists and designers will also find a variety of new materials and textures in MODO 801 allowing artists to more easily add realism to scenes containing complex, yet natural phenomena out-of the box. Examples include the ability to simulate the oil-on-water look or the colorful swirls often observed on a soap bubble with the new physically based Thin Film material and much more.
As well as all these key updates, the product has undergone drastic updates and advances across the board.